On Tuesday, Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) introduced legislation that would allow Student Support and Academic Enrichment (SSAE) grants to be used for enhanced school safety infrastructure.
The text of the legislation reads in part:
That funds made available under this heading for and allotted to States…may be used by the States, to improve school conditions for student learning by enabling local educational agencies to use such funds for the purpose of installing infrastructure and implementing technology or other measures, that strengthen security on school premises, which may include –
(1) controlling access to school premises or facilities, through the use of metal detectors or other measures, or technology, with evidence-based effectiveness…
(2) implementing any technology or measure, or installing any infrastructure, to cover and conceal students within the school during crisis situations;
(3) implementing technology to provide notification to relevant law enforcement and first responders during such a situation;
(4) implementing any technology or measure, including hiring school security officers, or installing any infrastructure, with evidence-based effectiveness…to increase the safety of school students and staff;
(5) implementing any technology or measure, or installing any infrastructure, for school safety reinforcement, including bullet-resistant doors and windows; and
(6) implementing any technology or system that would reduce the time needed to disseminate official information to parents regarding the safety of their children during and immediately following a crisis.
In a comment to The Daily Wire, a Cruz spokesperson said:
For months, Sen. Cruz has had conversations with local community leaders and education officials about what additional steps need to be taken to prevent horrific school shooting attacks on our students. While positive steps have been taken, there is much more that needs to be done.
Sen. Cruz’s amendment would allow our local school districts to put federal grant money directly towards improving school safety, including bullet-resistant doors and windows, metal detectors, trained school safety officers, and infrastructure to cover and conceal students within the school during crisis situations.
Sen. Cruz believes that empowering local school districts to further provide for the safety of students will lead to critical investments to keep our children safe.
Cruz released the following statement in conjunction with the legislation: “In the face of evil, horrific, violent attacks on our students, local school boards, teachers, and communities across the country have united to find a solution. By expanding the use of these grants, this amendment empowers our local community leaders and education officials with the resources they need to harden our schools and hire school safety officers to keep our children safe.”
According to a Cruz spokesperson, SSAE grants cannot currently be used for the purposes of school safety infrastructure. This legislation, which is an amendment to the Defense-Labor-HHS appropriations bill, reports The Hill, aims to change that.